Langland, Piers Plowman (C-text)

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thinking about version of the Church that emerges from Piers Plowman in secondary literature, Wycliffism has status -- stand-in for modern liberalism; brings modern scholars closer to what they wished medieval people believed

observing dis/continuities with Langland's own theology

interested in listening to versions of Wycliff that get spread outside of Oxford

some critics think about Langland as uneducated, as a "clever grammar school boy" -- but he engages with 14th century theology very seriously

question of the Reformation -- how does Langland fit into Eamon's version of the Middle Ages? what does this say about Duffy's construction of the late medieval Church?

restless poem; seems opaque, but great deal of dialectical control


"I've become a problem to myself" -- famous lines from the Confessions

models of the Middle Ages as static and hierarchical; this prologue doesn't know them

"Conscience in the Middle Ages" -- is Piers Plowman's "Conscience" Thomistic?

Andrew Galloway, commentary on Piers Plowman

allegorical figures -- high stylistic of Kynde Wit clashes with final lines, full of ordinary life

"fragmentation of the forms of inquiry"; Will is given maps for finding his way -- give the possibility of a unified inquiry; how do we go on if the ground we're put on doesn't match the maps we're given?

when reason can't control us, we have anarchy; we *need* the cat -- all the forces of reform swallowed up in image of human beings who have become mice and rats

put him to pride -- put him to the plow -- concretized images

friars: mobile figures; answerable to papacy, not bishops



Will, dressed as a sheep -- falls asleep


sees tower of Truth to the east, valley of Death to the West, field full of folk between
Conscience comes to accuse them (Pr.95)
Kynde Wit speaks to the king and commons (Pr.147)
Conscience speaks to the clergy and king (Pr.151)
Conscience and king go to court
crowd of rats come to hold council about cat (Pr.165)
rat of renown suggests putting a bell around the cat's neck (Pr.176)
crowd of rats applaud his plan (Pr.190)
mouse steps forward, suggests one cat or another will always bother them; better to suffer in silence; rats could never rule themselves (Pr.196)
dreamer doesn't know how to interpret this vision; goes on to see diverse people


Holy Church indicates people, says the only heaven they think of is here (I.5)
dreamer asks what it means (I.11)
Holy Church discusses tower of Truth (I.12)
dreamer asks to whom the world's treasure belongs (I.41)
Holy Church answers "Reddite Cesari" (I.44)
dreamer asks what the deep, dark dale means (I.55)
Holy Church answer it's the Castle of Care; evil lives there (I.57)
dreamer asks who she is (I.71)
Holy Church says I am Holy Church (I.72)
dreamer falls to knees, begs grace
dreamer asks how to save his soul (I.80)
Holy Church answers when all treasures have been tested, truth is the best (I.81)
dreamer asks why devil wants to be on the north, instead of the east (I.I.112)
Holy Church answers hell is wherever the devil is (I.114)
dreamer asks for "kynde knowying" (I.137)
Holy Church says he's a dummy, didn't learn enough Latin; discusses "kind knowynge" (I.139)
Holy Church starts to leave


dreams kneels before her, begs for grace (II.1)
dreamer begs her to stay (II.1)
Holy Church indicates Falsehood and Favel to the left (II.5)
dreamer looks to the left; sees Meed
dreamer asks Holy Church who this is (II.18)
Holy Church answers it's Meed, describes Meed's Marriage (II.19)
Holy Church leaves (II.53)
dreamer sees Meed's marriage (II.54)
Liar leaps forth
Liar says Guile gave a charter to False and Meed (II.69)
Civil and Simony look over charter (II.72)
Simony says Meed is married more for her riches than her high birth (II.75)
Wrong steps forward as witness (II.109)
several craftsman, a beadle and a pardoner step forth, seal the deed (II.110)
Theology gets angry (II.116)
Theology says to Simony that Meed is legitimate, the daughter of Amends and Favel; warns about wedding (II.117)
Civil agrees (II.155)
Simony doesn't agree (II.155)
Favel comes with florins, orders Guile to give out the gold (II.157)
everyone thanks Favel, pledge to help him marry Meed to False (II.162)
Favel and False are pleased
everyone goes to Westminster; allegories ride reeves and jurors (II.173)
Civil says he and Simony will ride adulterous rich men (II.183)
Truthful sees them riding, says nothing; passes them to go to king's court and warn Conscience (II.200)
Conscience tells the king he wants to catch False and Favel and Liar (II.204)
Conscience commands constable to arrest False, behead Guile, bring Meed in (II.211)
Dread hears, goes to tell False he'd better flee (II.217)
False flees to friars (II.220)
Guile flees for his life; merchants meet him and take him in (II.221)
Liar leaps away; pardoners take him in (II.225)
Simony and Civil went to Rome to appeal to pope (II.243)
Conscience accuses them to the king (II.245)
Conscience says Holy Church may be damaged beyond repair if nothing is done (II.246)
all flee except Meed (II.250)


Meed brough before King (III.2)
King tells clerk to look after Meed, that he'll examine her (III.5)
Clerk brings Meed to chamber (III.9)
mirth and minstrelsy amuse Meed (III.12)
judges try to appear Meed not to be sad, they'll help (III.17)
Meed thanks them, offers them gifts (III.21)
clerics comfort Meed (III.25)
Meed promises them rewards (III.30)
confessor offers to absolve her (III.38)
Meed kneels before him, confessees (III.45)
confessor absolves her (III.50)
confessor tells her they'll have her name engraved on a window (III.51)
Meed replies (III.55)

prophetic voice breaks through, warns against such kinds of meed; direct address (III.68)

King calls for Meed (III.127)
King chastises Meed, asks her if she'll have Conscience as a husband (II.133)
Meed responds that she will (III.147)
Conscience is called; kneels (III.149)
King asks Conscience if he'll marry Meed (III.153)
Conscience says no (III.155)
Meed asks to speak in her defense (III.215)
King grants her wish (III.218)
Meed speaks in defense of the reward system (III.220)
King says to Conscience that Meed has made her point well (III.283)
Conscience refuses; uses grammatical metaphor (III.285)
King says to Conscience he doesn't understand the metaphor (III.340)
Conscience explains (III.243)
Meed is angry (III.483)
Conscience retorts that she's misunderstanding (III.491)


King asks them to stop arguing, kiss (IV.1)
Conscience refuses (IV.4)
King tells Conscience to fetch Reason (IV.6)
Conscience agrees (IV.13)
Conscience rides to Reason (IV.14)
Conscience tells Reason what's going on (IV.14)
Reason agrees to come (IV.16)
Reason calls Cato and Tom True-tongue to sattle up (IV.17)
Conscience and Reason leave together (IV.24)
Wily-fellow and Clever-man, &c., follow them (IV.27)
Conscience warns Reason against them (IV.33)
Conscience and Reason ride on (IV.40)
King greats Reason (IV.42)
Peace comes with petition to parliament about how Wrong had wronged him (IV.45)
Peace explains Wrong's wrongs (IV.49)
King knows it's true because of Conscience (IV.64)
Wrong is afraid (IV.66)
Wrong tries to explain himself (IV.69)
Meed notices Wrong (IV.71)
Peace shows his bloody skull from Wrong (IV.74)
Peace explains he didn't deserve this wound (IV.75)
Wisdom and Wit try to overcome the King with Meed (IV.78)
King throws Wrong in irons (IV.81)
someone wise says this isn't right (Iv. 83)
Wit agrees (IV.88)
Meed begs mercy, gives Peace gold (IV.90)
Meed vouches Wrong will never do it again (IV.92)
Peace asks the king to have mercy on Wrong, since Wisdom has had Meed pay amends (IV.94
King refuses for Conscience's sake (IV.99)
some advise Reason to pity Wrong, look to Conscience to counsel the King (IV.105)
Reason refuses to take pity (IV.108)
Clerks attempt to translate Reason 's speech (IV.146)
Meed winks at lawyer, asking them to stop Reason (IV.148)
just men declare Reason 's truth, see that Meekness overcomes Meed (IV.151)
Love and Loyalty think little of Meed (IV.156)
Love and Loyalty tell Conscience and the King no one should marry Meed for money (IV.158)
Meed mourns, is taken out of chamber (IV.160)
Sheriff's clerk cries out to Meed (IV.164)
King calls Conscience and Reason into his council (IV.166)
King chastise lawyers for losing him revenue (IV.169)
Conscience speaks to King, encourages commons' help (IV.175)
Reason agrees (IV.179)
King asks Reason and Conscience to stay and be his council (IV.183)
Reason agrees (IV.187)
King orders Conscience to fire his officers (IV.195)

dreamer awakes (IV.196)



dreamer awakes, clothed like a loller (V.2)

Reason rebukes him for not using his skills usefully (V.12)
dreamer says he's too weak (V.22)
Reason tells him not to waste/beg (V.26)
dreamer says he's never found a life he likes better than lolling (V.25)
Conscience says dreamer is wrong in his reasoning (V.89)
dreamer admits wasting time (V.92)
Reason advises him to get started on the good life (V.103)
Conscience backs up reason (V.104)

dreamer goes to church, kneels, tells his sins, falls asleep (V.105)


dreamer sees Reason preaching as the pop not to waste time (V.114)
Reason orders people not to be wasteful; enters apocalyptic mode (V.136)
Reason counsels king to love his people (V.180)
Reason commands peace as penance and perpetual forgiveness (V.194)


Repentence runs in (VI.1)
Will weeps (VI.2)
Purnel repents (VI.3)
Repentence orders repentence
Pride repents
Repentence ask God to give him grace to amend
Envy repents (VI.63)
Repentence says he'll be sorry (VI.91)
Envy says he is (VI.93)
Wrath wakes up
Wrath confesses
Repentence orders repentence (VI.164)
Repentence absolves Wrath
Lechery confesses
Covetousness comes
Covetousness confesses
Repentance asks if he's never repented
Covetousness says he once stole from someone
Repentance calls that a lousy restitution; asks if he practiced usuary?
Covetousness says no, just a little when young
Repentance asks if he ever lend to a lord for protection
Covetousness has
Repentance demands restitution before absolution
Covetousness confesses more
Repentance says he's an "unkynde" creature; he can't absolve him until restitution (VI.296)
Welshman says he'll make restitution
Robert the Rifler noticed the law of reddite, weeps because he has nothing to make restitution with
Robert begs forgiveness
dreamer doesn't know what happened to Robert, but notes his genuine torment
Repentence says he's heading for heaven if his heart is right (VI.331)
Glutton goes to confession, stops at bar on the way
Glutton gets drunk, ends up vomiting (VI.412)
Glutton's wife and daughter put him to bed
Glutton confesses to Repentance


Sloth comes to confess, falls asleep
Repentance orders him awake
Sloth confesses
Repentance asks if he doesn't repent?
Repentance faints; is awoken
Repentance recommends repentance to Sloth
Sloth sits up, corsses himself
Sloth confesses

prophetic narrative voice on sloth; direct address (VII.70)

Repentance advises all to kneel
Repentance prayers for forgiveness (VII.121)
Hope takes up the horn
a thousand men throng together, crying for Christ, grace and Truth; but no one knows the way
pilgrim enters (VII.160)
folks ask him where he's from
Pilgrim describes journies
folks ask where Truth lives
Pilgrim doesn't know
Piers Plowman says he knows the way; Conscience and Kynde Wit gave him directions (VII.182)
folks offer Piers money
Piers refuses; describes the journey to Truth
several people don't think they have any kin there
Piers prods them on with mercy
one leaves
one says he has to plow first
he asks Piers to excuse him to Truth
Active can't go because his wife is too wiled to be left alone
Contemplation says he'll follow Piers


Piers wants to plow the half-acre
Woman asks what the women should do
Piers says sew sacks
Knight asks what he could do
Piers says keep them safe
Knight pledge to do so
Piers asks him not to trouble any tenant unless Truth agrees; don't oppose Conscience or Holy Church
Knight assents
Piers dresses as a pilgrim
Piers says he'll sow, then go on a pilgrimage for pardon
Piers commands his wife, daughter and son to obedience
Piers dictates his will (VIII.95)
Piers and pilgrims begin plowing (VIII.112)
Piers lets his plow stand, begins to act as overseer
Others sit down in idleness
Piers tells them to get up and work
they tell Piers they can't work, make excuses, pray to him
Piers calls them false
Waster gets angry
Piers complains to the knight
Knight warns waster to improve
Waster refuses
Piers calls on Hunger
Hunger grabs Waster around the belly
Piers asks Hunger for mercy on them
phonies are frightened, take up working
Piers is proud, puts them to work
Piers pities them
Piers tells Hunger to leave (VIII.206)
Hunger says Wasters must work
Piers asks if he might be sinless if he does as Hunger wants
Hunger says yes; shows that everyone must work for their food
Piers says he'll show this proverb to those who beg and won't work; says his stomach hurts
Hunger says he's eaten too much; has to work harder
Piers says he can go now
Hunger says he won't go away until he's dined and drunk
Piers says he doesn't have anything to eat
poor bring Hunger what they have
Hunger eats it all, asks for more
poor people give him more, with harvest coming
Waster refuses to work

prophetic voice, direct address; warns people to get ahead while they can; hope God of his goodness grants us a truce (VIII.343)


Truth obtains a pardon for Piers and his heirs, tells him to stay home and plow -- he'll pardon whoever does

prophetic voice breaks through to describe who is included in the pardon; merchants (who pray for Piers for bringing them this bull (IX.42); poverty of women; beggars with bags won't be pardoned -- if you have your health, you should work; every now and then voice merges with Piers' voice (IX.37,159-161

Priest asks Piers if he can read his pardon
Piers unfolds the pardon, shows last lines of Athanasian Creed
Priest says the only pardon is Dowel and have well; do evil and have evil, be damned
Priest and Piers argue about pardon

dreamer awakes


dreamer wanders, "meatless and moneyless" on Malvern Hills; thinks about pardon

dreamer comments on dreams, and Dowel

prophetic voice bursts through at the end, advising rich men to account for their actions


dreamer roams, looking for Dowel; comes upon two friars

dreamer asks friars where Dowel resides
friars say he's with the friars
dreamer disputes
friars tells story of man in a boat tossed about by sin
dreamer says he has no kynde wit to understand; says eh'll keep looking

dreamer wander alone in savage wilderness, listens to birds

dreamer falls asleep


dreamer sees tall man
dreamer asks him who he is
Thought responds
dreamer asks Thought where Dowel is
Thought says Dowel is true of tong, Dobet preaches, Dobest is a bishop
dreamer still doesn't understand
Thought recommends Wit
Thought and dreamer walk, debating Dowel; come upon Wit
Thought asks Wit about Dowel, Dobet, Dobest
Wit responds by describing human nature as a castle (X.127)
dreamer asks what Kind is
Wit responds Kind is creator; man with inwit has treasure enough from Truth to provide for himself; speaks on marriage (X.151)


Wit's wife, Dame study, is angry
Dame study says Wit shouldn't throw pearls of wisdom to swine
Wit laughs at Study, tells dreamer to beg for her grace
dreamer begs for Dame Study's grace, asks about Dowel
Dame Study refers dreamer to her cousin Clergy
dreamer asks where Clergy dwells
Dame Study gives directions; talks about what she knows, but how Theology has troubled her; must ask Clergy
dreamer leaves
dreamer comes to Clergy, asks about Dowel
Clergy says keep the 10 commandments
Scripture scorns dreamer, tells Clergy to get rid of the dreamer
Scripture puts dreamer down in Latin
dreamer weeps for woe and anger
dreamer falls asleep
Fortune fetches the dreamer, takes him to the land of longing
Fortune shows the dreamer the mirror of Middle Earth
Concupiscencia carnes and covetousness-of-eyes follow fortune
Concupiscencia carnes tells dreamer to enjoy his youth
Covetousness-of-eyes agrees, says she'll attend him
Fortune promises to be dreamer's friend
Old Age comes
Old Age warns dreamer not to be seduced
Recklessness tells dreamer not to mind Old Age; Fortune will follow him;
Recklessness gives long speech on grace and doctrine of good works, predestination; sounds like prophetic voice at moments
poet Plato says let God do his will, encourages dreamer to be reckless
Childishness pulls dreamer forth


Old Age and Holiness lament dreamer's being pulled away
Coveousness-of-eyes comforts dreamer, calls him Recklessness
dreamer does as she says, passes from youth into Old Age
Fortune leaves dreamer
friar who promised absolution leaves dreamer
Loyalty laughs
dreamer scowls
Loyalty asks why dreamer scowls
dreamer says friar flattered him only as long as he had money
Loyalty says don't blab publicly (poet's role)
Scripture agrees with Loyalty
Scripture goes to pulpit, preaches; few understand
dreamer is vexed by her text debates whether or not he's chosen
dreamer says everyone must pay for their sins
Scripture agrees; says no sin keeps mercy from amending
Trajan the knight says he was saved, even though an unchristian creature
Recklessness begins long speech on proper forms of poverty, the seeds of faith


Recklessness's speech continues; merchants (rich men) vs. messengers (mobile beggars); argues with Clergy and scorns Scripture
Kind comes to help out Clergy, makes him look in mirror of Middle Earth
dreamer notices natural order, sees Reason in beasts (birds building intricate nests)
dreamer asks Reason why he's in other beasts, but not men
Reason says let things be as they are
dreamer is ashamed
dreamer awakes
dreamer says he knows what Dowel is asleep, but never awake
person asks what Dowel is
dreamer answers "to see much and suffer all"
person responds he shouldn't inquire into the universe's mysteries
dreamer says this person speakes truth; laments arguing with Reason
person agrees, gets up
dreamer gets up to follow person, asks who he is


Imaginatif tells dreamer not to spill speach; grace is a gift of God; says clergy have better instruments for understanding; if dropped in the Thames and one man learned to swim and the other didn't, who will drown? (XIV.1-108)
dreamer says the one who can't swim
Imaginatif says yes, it's bad to be ignorant; bird, peacocks like rich men (XIV.110)
dreamer asks if Saracens or Jew can be saved without baptism
Imaginatif scowls, says no; just different kind of baptism
Imaginatif vanishes



dreamer awakes, walks about like beggar thinking on dream

dreamer falls asleep


Conscience and Clergy come, order dreamer to dine with Reason
dreamer meets Reason, they walk together
dreamer and Reason meet a friar; Conscience knows and welcomes him
Patience comes begging for food; Conscience knows and welcomes him
everyone sits to dine, master/friar at head, Reason presiding as steward, Patience and dreamer together at side table
Clergy calls for food
Scripture serves the diners with dishes of Augustine, Ambrose, etc.
Master can't eat it, as for moree expensive menu
Reason proposes Conscience command Scripture to bring bread for Patience
Scripture sets down food for Patience and dreamer
Contrition the cook brings another serving
Conscience, Clergy and Scripture comfort Patience and the dreamer
Patience is pleased with the service; dreamer mourns because doctor is drinking, eating too much
dreamer says points out hypocrisy of the doctor
dreamer lusts after doctor's food
Patience urges him to leave it alone
dreamer sits still
dreamer asks doctor what Dowel is
doctor says do no harm to your neighbors
dreamer says he doesn't practice what he preaches
Conscience makes meaningful look, winks at Patience to get dreamer to be quiet
Conscience asks doctor what Dowel, Dobet, Dobest is
doctor says Dowel is to do as doctors teach
Conscience turns to Clergy, asks about Dowel
Clergy excuses himself, turns to Piers
Piers pipes in, says to love one's enemy
Piers vanishes, Reason runs after him; only Conscience and Clergy left
Patience counsels patience
Doctor says this is an old entertainer's line; doesn't work for the real world
Doctor takes Clergy and Conscience into his council
Conscience gets rid of the doctor
Conscience says to Clergy he'd rather have patience than book learning
Conscience and Patience leave; dreamer follows; they all meet with a minstrel
Patience asks minstrel who he is
minstrel responds he's Activa Vita, apprenticed to Piers Plowman
Conscience asks what kind of minstrelsy
Activa Vita says he makes men merry; hates idleness; provides for men
Patience says it's he, not Activa Vita, who provides for men
Activa asks for food
Patience gives him a pater noster
Patience tells Activa to live by Christ's word and he'll never be hungry
Activa asks what perfect patience is
Patience responds meeknes and mild speech
Activa asks if poverty and patience please God more than righteous riches
Patience says yes; poor deserve heaven as a respite from their suffering, rich got their heaven on earth


Patience continues tos peak
Patience prays to God
Patience says poor are more likely to go to heaven because they're less susceptible to seven deadly sins
Activa says angrily to patience, what is poverty?
Patience responds in Latin
Activa says he can't figure this out
Patience says this is difficult in English, but tries to translate
Activa has a leader named Free Will, who knows both Conscience and Clergy
Free Will says those with land/lordship when he dies will be poorest in power when he parts
dreamer asks Patience for permission to question Free Will
Patience grants it, tells him to ask his other name
dreamer asks Free Will what country he's from
Free Will responds he's known to many Christians
dreamer asks Free Will what his service is
Free Will responds with list of his duties that he does in bodies
dreamer asks if the body is better than him
Free Will says no; like wood and fire working together; many different names for him: Anima, Animus, Mens, Memoria, Ratio, Sensus, Sonsciencia, Spiritus
Will jokes that Free Will is just like a bishop with so many names
Free Will says he understands, dreamer wants to get to the bottom of them having so many names
dreamer agrees, says he wants to know all knowledge/crafts naturally in his heart
Free Will says then he's one of Pride's knights; desire for knowledge is evil; says lettered men must not be hypocrites for unlettered men to follow them
dreamer asks where charity is; never seen it in London, though it's preached often
Free Will says charity is childlike, must give like children
dreamer asks where this child-like believer gets his food/income
Free Will says he's provided for by Aperis-tu-manum, etc. (SVI.315)
dreamer asks who this person is
Free Will says Piers Plowman knows him, tells where Charity can be found


dreamer says there's no such person who didn't sometimes sin
Free Will describes men who live off the land as quasi-hunter-gatherers (direct address prophetic voice breaks through at times); degeneration/corruption of humans
dreamer asks what Holy Church is
Free Will says Charity is Holy Church; love of God
dreamer asks if Saracens know what charity is
Free Will says they may naturally; but they follow the laws of false prophets; direct address of prophetic voice breaks through at times; Wycliffite sections on disendowment and corruption of priests; prioritizes converting Jews and Saracens


dreamer asks if Free Will can direct him to Charity
Free Will laughs, leads dreamer to Cor-hominis, a garden of mysteries with a graft named Ymago-dei in the center
Free Will tells will the tree is True-love, set by the Trinity
dreamer thanks Free Will; asks about three different props bearing it up
Free Will says they signify the Trinity, explains how it's kept healthy
dreamer looks at tree, notices the fruit is fair and of three kinds; asks if it's all the same
Free Will says yes; fruit is Activa life
dreamer says there are two lives: Activa Vita and Contemplativa Vita; why is the fruit in three degrees?
Free Will responds: marriage, widowhood and virginity
Free Will wants to taste, asks that it's shaken
Free Will calls Old Age to climb up high and shake it
Devil grabs fruit before it hits the ground
tree got angry; Free Will of God seizes middle prop and swings at Fiend
Filius and Spiritus Sanctus go take devil's apples
Mary says Jesus is with her, will joust for fallen fruit with devil; Jesus is 40 wks in the womb of Mary
Free Will taught Jesus to be a physician, to heal the faithful beforeo plentitudo temporis, raise up Lazarus
Jesus weeps [here launches into New Testament stories; overturning the tables in the temple; Judas;
Jesus chastises those who don't know him
Jesus is betrayed by Judas
dreamer awakes, frantic; looks for Free Will, can't find him
dreamer meets Abraham on Mid-lent Sunday
dreamer asks Abraham where he's fromg
Abraham says he's with faith
dreamer asks what he means about his coat of arms
Abraham says three persons in one pennon
dreamer asks if the separate things have different names
Abraham says yes, Father, Son and Holy Ghost
dreamer says it's hard to believe three-in-one
Faith says don't muse on it much but believe it loyally; explains how it works by analogy with marriage/children
dreamer asks if Faith has seen all three and one God
Faith says he say all three as God walk by his gate one summer
dreamer wonders at his words; notices something he blesses often on his bosom; see s aleper on his lap playing with patriarchs and prophets
Faith asks what dreamer is looking for
dreamer wants to know what's in his lap
Faith shows him
dreamer exclaims on the price of this present
Faith says it's precious, but the Devil attacks it; waiting for Christ to return
dreamer exclaims on sin keeping humanity from second coming
dreamer weeps; sees another run past, asks where he came from


Hope/Moses says he has a commandment to rule all realms
dreamer asks if its sealed
Hope says no; he seeks him who has the seal, Christ
dreamer asks to see letters
Hope gives a hard rock that says "Love God and thy neighbor"
dreamer sees in gilt pen it written "On these two commandments dependeth the whole law"
dreamer asks if all Hope's lod's leters are here
Hope says yes
Faith says he's being truthful, shows Old Testament people who believed in Old Law
dreamer is incredulous, asks about trinity and new law
Samaritan comes riding fast, meets Abraham and Hope in a wild wilderness where theives had bound a man
Faith sees the man; runs away
Hope sees the man; backs away
Samaritan helps the man, takes him to an inn, pays for his care
Samaritan rides away; Faith and Hope follow after; dreamer pursues
dreamer tells Samaritan how Faith and Hope were afraid
Samaritan says Faith and Hope alone can't restore sick men, but the blood of Christ
dreamer asks about Trinity
Samaritan says it's true, likens trinity to fist, finger and palm of God; says rich men have a hard time getting into heaven;
dreamer asks if he dies now and is sorry for his sins, will he be saved?
Samaritan says yes, if he is true and makes restitution
Samritan vanishes like wind

dreamer awakes



dreamer wanders like a vagrant

dreamer lays down at Lent, sleeps


dreamer sees someone like the Samaritan and Piers righting forth
Faith cries out to him
dreamer asks Faith what this means, who is coming to joust in Jerusalem?
Faith say it's Jesus to fetch what the Fiend claims, the fruit of Piers the plowman
dreamer asks if Piers is in this place
Faith says Jesus will joust in Piers' armor
dreamer asks who will joust with Jesus, Jews or scribs/
Faith says no, the fiend
Pilate comes; Jews cry out "Crucify!"
prosecutor comes before Pilate
prosecutor says Jesus mocked the temple of the Jews
court officer cries crucify! he practices witchcraft!
garland of thorns set on jesus' head
Jesus nailed to cross
hard rock of earth/temple split, dead men come out of graves
dead man says no one will know who succeeds, life or death, until sunrise
thieves on the cross; no one bold enough to touch Christ's body
Longinus the blind Jew sent to joust with Jesus; pierces his heart; blood opens his eyes
Longinus cries for mercy
Faith upbraids false Jews
dreamer withdraws to hell in fear
dreamer sees Mercy come from the west, Truth from the east
Truth asks what is going on
Mercy says it's a thing of joy
Truth rejects what Mercy says; says something in hell can never leave, quotes scripture
Mercy says grace will make a good end and deceive the deceiver
Truth says she sees Righteousness come running
Mercy says she sees Peace clothed in patience come from the south
Peace clothed in patience approaches; Righteousness reverenced Peace in her rich clothing, asks where Peace is going
Peace says she's going to see many in hell, Adam and Eve and Moses; God gave her and her sister Mercy to mankind to bail them out
Peace shows a letter patent of the deed
Righteousness is incredulous
Peace promises to prove it
Book comes
Book bears witness
Truth tells them to be quiet; sees a spirit requesting the gates be opened
loud voice in light says to Lucifer to undo the gates
Satan says to Hell the light will ruin them; asks for chains to bar up gates
Lucifer says he's too powerful; but hopes that God will allow him his rights
Satan agrees, but says Lucifer used deceit in getting those souls
Goblin/Devil says it's true, he used deceit
Fiend advises they flee

prophetic voice briefly breaks out in digression about liars

light again commands they unlock hell
Lucifer ask what lord he is
voice responds the lord that made all things
bars of hell break; the trapped souls flee; Lucifer can't look into the light
Lord tells Lucifer he got them by right and reason, since Lucifer beguiled them; grace wins back what guile stole
God binds Lucifer in chains
Peace sings
Truth calls a truce
Peace says no one should know they ever quarreled
Righteousness agrees
Peace, Truth, Righeousness kiss
singing, bells


dreamer awakes, tells Kit and his daughter Calote to go reverence God's resurrection


dreamer writes what he's learned; goes to mass for communion

dreamer falls asleep when men went to offering


dreamer sees Piers painted bloody like Christ
dreamer asks Conscience if this is christ?
Conscience says they're Piers' arms and colors, but he who comes so bloody is christ
dreamer asks why he's called Christ, since Jews call him Jesus?
Conscience launches in to long speech on the life of Christ
Conscience counsels dreamer to kneel
dreamer sees spiritus paraclitus strike Piers and his followers like lightening, letting them know many languages; dreamer is afraid
Conscience kneels
Conscience says this is Christ's messanger, orders dreamer to kneel and welcome him
dreamer kneels and sings for God's Grace
Grace goes with Piers and counsels him and Conscience to summon the commons
Grace says he'll divide grace with all kinds of creatures; warns against antichrist becoming pope
Grace gives each man grace to guide and protect himselves
Grace recommends they crown Conscience king and make Craft the steward; Piers is made proctor and reeve, provider and plowman on earth to cultivate truth
Grace give Piers a team of four oxen (Luke, Mark, Matthew and John); then four horses (Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory and Jerome; seeds (the cardinal virtues)
Piers sows the seeds
Piers says to harrow natural intelligence
Grace tells Piers when it's time to harvest, build a house to store it
Piers asks Grace to give timber and ordain that house before he leaves (XXI.320)
Grace makes a house
Piers and Grace go out to sow truth
Pride comes to injure Conscience and Christians
Pride threatens to break house of Unity
Conscience counsels Christians to hold fast in Unity; Grace alone will help them defeat Pride
Common Sense came, told Conscience to dig a ditch around Unity, so that Holy Church became a fort
Conscience commands Christians to dig
Conscience says Pride can't defeat them; giving of Eucharist; Piers has been given pardon for all who Redde quot debes
Common people are confused; ask if they're being asked to give back all they owe before going to communion?
Conscience says yes
brewer refuses
Conscience says he'll never be saved then
uneducated vicar points out that many men are lost, then; even the pope is imperfect (Wycliffite)
lord agrees, says he holds it right and reasonable to take from his reeve
king agrees, too, says he can rule as he likes
Conscience agrees, on condition he rules with reason and truth
vicar takes his leave, has far to travel

dreamer awakes, writes down his dream



dreamer walks, sad and aching at heart; meets Need

Need calls him a phony, asks why he didn't excuse himself like the king; reproaches dreamer

dreamer falls asleep


dreamer sees Antichrist come, rules over all people, friars, followers
Conscience advises fools into Holy Church
Nature hears Conscience; sends illness; Death strikes down all, both high and low
Conscience asks Nature to lay off to see if the people will amend
Fortune begins flattering the few survivrs, sending Lechery
Covetousness came to destroy people
Conscience jokes that he wishes Covetousness were Christian, since he's such a good fighter
Life laughs, has his clothes stylishly slit and says Holiness is a joke, Honesty a waste of time, etc.
Life says Health and he will teach not to fear Death or Old Age
Life and his mistress Forgune attract Sloth, who marries Despair
Conscience warns Old Age, who waves away Deespair and tries to make confession
Life flees for fear to Physic, asks for relief
Old Age runs at Life and the Doctor, strikes Doctor dead
Life sees that surgery nor medicine can stop Old Age
Life rides to Revel, Old Age chases him; shaves off some of dreamer's head in the pursuit
dreamer complains about baldness
Old Age beats up dreamer
dreamer sees Nature pass by and Death draw near
dreamer cries to Kind to help him with Old Age, wants vengeance
Kind tells him to go to Unity, and learn some craft
dreamer asks Kind what craft is best to learn
Kind says learn to love, forget everything else
dreamer says he doesn't know how he'll earn a living
Kind says he'll never lack if he loves loyally
dreamer roams through Contrition and Confession till he comes to Unity, where Conscience was constable
Antichrist, seven sins and priest launch attacks against Unity
Conscience cries for Clergy's help
friars come to help but they don't know enough; Conscience gives up on them
Need tells Conscience says the friars should live like beggars
Conscience laughs, calls in and comforts friars
Conscience says to friars he'll help as long as they live according to their rule, get rid of logic and learn to love
Envy hears; orders friars back to school

dreamer/prophetic voice breaks in to discourse on parish priests

Envy gives university fellowships to friars
Hypocrisy launches an assault
Conscience has Peace bolt the gates; calls in doctor to help those sick or wounded with sin
people don't like the doctor; ask for Friar Flatterer
Contrition encourages Conscience to let Friar Flatterer in
Conscience doesn't want to but assents
Ffriar gets a letter from a lord giving him a parish, goes to a bishop; knocks on the gate where Conscience is
Peace begins to unlock the gate
Friar asks to speak with Contrition
Peace says he's sick
Friar says he's a surgeon, can prepare salves
Peace asks his name
Friar responds he is Penetrans domos
Peace tells him to leave
Courteous-speech tells Peace to open the gates
Friar enters, greets Conscience
Conscience welcomes him, asks if he can heal Contrition, who leaves plasters on from Lent to Lent
Friar thinks this is too long
Friar tests, offers him plaster for private payment
Friar asks for silver
Friar smooth-talks Contrition
Sloth and Pride see Contrition give up, come to attack Conscience
Conscience cries for Clergy's help, and asks Contrition to hold the gate
Peace says he's drowned; Friar has enchanted them with treatments and sleeping potions
Conscience swears to become a pilgrim searching Piers, who can destroy Pride
Conscience cries out for Grace

dreamer awakes